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Issue № 77. December 2019

Development of Socio-Political Concept of “Smart City” in Russian Regions (Cases of Sarov, Elabuga, Sochi)

Irina A. Vasilenko, Aigul N. Egorova

Irina A. Vasilenko — DSc (Political Sciences), Professor, Department of Russian policy, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation.

Aigul N. Egorova — postgraduate student, Department of Russian policy, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation.

The paper gives an outline of the key features of the socio-political "smart city" concept development in Russian regions on the example of Sarov, Elabuga and Sochi. The importance of the research topic is related to the modern political course of Russia on the construction of digital economy and the formation of “smart cities”, that puts on demand the development of an up-to-date sociopolitical concept aimed at improving the quality of citizens living and introduction of new forms of electronic democracy in Russian society. The main purpose of the study is to accumulate the experience of the advanced regional pilot projects and give a critical scientific analysis of the achievements and problems of public space digitalization, which could help the regional authorities to avoid some mistakes and see the new possibilities for solving the socio-political problems of the “smart city”. The research is based on interdisciplinary approach combining the methodology of political science, communication, sociology and cultural studies. The authors come to the conclusion that the most effective model in the regions could be transformation of “science cities” (Naukogrady in Russian) and “closed towns” into “smart cities”, which is actually represented in the town of Sarov where the majority of the population are highly educated specialists who are well acquainted with digital technologies. It also is shown that cities located next to the special economic zones (the example of Elabuga) and regional capitals (the example of Sochi) can become locomotives of innovative development in their regions and have good additional socio-economic resources for introducing digital technologies into public space. Among the risks of digitalization in the regions are low digital literacy of the population, insufficient willingness of regional authorities to use digital technologies for the development of e-democracy, lack of a legal framework that reinforces the status of citizens' opinions in the development and adoption of urban decisions, and insufficient protection of electronic resources from hackers. The authors conclude that it is strategically important for Russian cities to introduce a humanistic concept of a “smart city” created by smart citizens who are closely involved in the process governance: it means investing more in human capital development and not only in digital technologies.


“Smart city”, innovations, smart technologies, digitalization, Russian regions.

DOI: 10.24411/2070-1381-2019-10024

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